Monilia is a less commonly used name for Candida. People may recognize the term Candida as the name of several yeasts that can either live on or in the human body without much problem, or that can cause a variety of infections if the body’s balance of bacteria and yeast are not at appropriate levels. It should be recognized that Monilia or Candida are the actual names of a group of yeasts, while moniliasis or candidiasis would be names for infections by the yeasts. This distinction isn’t always made.
One of the best-known forms of this yeast is Candida albicans, but there are other yeasts of the Candida group that may cause infection. As previously mentioned, most people have some yeast living on and in their body. It lives in the vagina, in the area around the groin, on the hands, in the mouth, and in places like the gut. Generally, this is of little issue, but impact can change due to a variety of factors.
When yeast infection occurs it may affect any one of the places just mentioned. It could result in conditions like vaginal yeast infection, thrush (yeast in the mouth), athletes’ foot, fungal infections of fingers or toenails, jock itch, and skin infection in between skin folds, particularly in those who are overweight. It’s not always known why this yeast can suddenly become so dominant, but there are certain factors that tend to increase risk for candidiasis.
These include lowered immune system due to illnesses like HIV or because of treatments for transplant or cancer. People with diabetes are more prone to yeast infections. Taking antibiotics, which can unbalance natural skin flora, appears to create risk for conditions like thrush or vaginal yeast infection. Higher temperature areas may also cause more Monilia infections because yeast tends to thrive in warmer environments. People who are significantly overweight are particularly prone to yeast infections in the skin folds since these areas receive little air and may be moist fairly constantly.
Symptoms of a Monilia infection tend to include some itching and irritation of the skin, and skin could begin to take on an unusual white appearance. This is common with conditions like thrush in the mouth. Left unchecked, yeast infections in certain places, like on the fingers and toes, may begin to infect nails causing yellowing and nail thickening or degradation. Should people suspect Monilia is creating the problem, they should strongly consider treatment.
Early symptoms of yeast infection may be hard to tell from other skin irritation causes, and confirmation with a doctor is a good idea. Treatment in early stages, except for oral yeast, often consists of using over the counter creams that will kill the Candida organism. Should a yeast infection be very advanced, use of creams or lotions may be insufficient. In this case, doctors can prescribe oral antifungal medications.
Whether ingesting or applying medicine, it’s important to use it all. People often stop using medications as soon as they feel better. This tends to just cause the infection to come back in greater strength.
Monilia has a long relationship with the human body. It’s impossible to eradicate the body of all yeasts in the same way that it’s relatively impossible to remove bacteria from the body. Some people seem to be more prone to yeast infections of every type, and there are some natural health tips for those that are. These include avoiding things like harsh detergents, douching, and strong soaps on hands or feet. Other health tips include avoiding high sugar diets, eating plenty of yogurt, and keeping traditionally “wet” areas of the body, such as skin folds, clean and dry.